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Introduced    March 1983
Discontinued  October 1983
Release Price  


           The Aquarius computer is another example of  a gamming machine company trying to break into the Home Computer Market. 

          As with the Coleco Company, Mattel saw a booming computer market and felt that they too should have a computer in their product lineup. But unlike Coleco they didn't want to develop their own system. They wanted a ready made one and found one in Radofin Electronics. Radofin had a computer based on the Zilog Z80 8-bit processor that they were developing and looking for a major company to distribute it. It was released under the Mattel label and named Aquarius

         The public hated it. It had a terrible keyboard, practically no user RAM, very limited graphics, and poor sound capabilities. It was released with a cassette drive, a printer, and an expansion unit with 2 game controllers. 

         Unfortunately, Mattel would not have time to overcome the bad reviews and dismal sales, because 1983 was the year the bottom dropped out of the video game business. Within months of the release of the Aquarius, Mattel was reeling in financial distress. In fact Mattel was close to bankruptcy and with their core business in jeopardy and they had to cut costs. So in the fall of 1983 Mattel got out of the computer business.

         I believe Aquarius was as much or more a victim of  the video game crash of 1983 than a poorly designed computer because even with all of its faults it could have been fixed in time. But time was the one commodity Mattel did not have. The Aquarius was only on the market for about 8 months and its hard to say if it would have found a niche in the Home Computer Market if Mattel would have been able to keep the Aquarius line alive.


System Architecture



Microprocessor Zilog Z80A   Standard on system board 4K (1.7K user)
Clock speed 3.5 MHz   Maximum on system board 4K
Bus type Mattel proprietary   Maximum total memory 52K
Data bus width 8-bits   Memory speed and type  
Address bus width 16-bits   System board memory socket type  
Interrupt levels N/A   Number of memory module sockets  
DMA channels N/A   Memory used on system board  

Standard Features


Disk Storage

ROM size 8K   Internal disk and tape drive bays none
Optional math coprocessor no   Standard tape drives optional
Parallel port type no   Optional tape drives: 1 external
RS232C serial ports no   * uses standard audio cassettes yes
Mouse ports opt. adapter   * 5 1/4 inch 1.2MB no
UART chip used N/A   * 3 1/2 inch 720k no
Maximum speed N/A   * 3 1/2 inch 1.44MB no
CMOS real time clock no   * 3 1/2 inch 2.88MB no
CMOS RAM no   Hard disk controller included no

Video & Graphics



Graphics Processor uses CPU   Sound Interface device uses CPU
Screen size - Col x Rows 40 x 24   Sound generation 1 channel
Resolution - Colors/High 16 / 80 x 72   ADSR capable no
Resolution - Colors/Low 16 / 40 x 24      
Max colors 16   Programming language  
Sprites or Missiles none   Built in language Microsoft BASIC
      Built in M L monitor no

Expansion Slots


Keyboard Specs.

Total adapter slots 1   Number of keys 49
Number of 8/16/32 bit slots     Upper/lower case yes/yes
I / O ports TV RF  / printer / cassette   Keyboard cable length integral keyboard

Physical Specs.


Environmental Specs.

* Height 2 1/4 inches   Operating voltage @ 60 Hz     120 VAC
* Width 13 1/2 inches   Maximum power supplied       21 watts
* Depth 6 inches   Power supply output - volts 8.8 / 16 / 19 VDC
* Weight  incl. power pack 4 1/2 pounds   Power supply output - amps 1.2 / .15 / .01 amps